Road trip to Sydney, May 2010
On the first day of our recent trip to Sydney we reached Ouyen in north-west Victoria in time for lunch. We found a park near the main street and as my wife prepared some rolls for lunch I wandered over the road to buy some treats from the local bakery. It’s an indulgence of ours. Country bakeries in Australia are usually very good, and this one was no disappointment.
While having lunch I tried to make a list of the birds heard and seen. We were a little distracted by the mice (House Mouse) wandering around the shelter shed in the picnic area. They seemed oblivious to our presence less than a metre away. I guess they thrived on the bits of food dropped y happy tourists like ourselves. We were only there for about twenty minutes, and seeing there was little time for an intensive bird search, my list is rather small. The highlight would have to be several Peaceful Doves in the bushes nearby.
Click on the names to go to other articles about each species.
During my visit to Pinnaroo last week I saw a sign pointing to a public aviary. It turned out to be adjacent the caravan park and consisted of one large aviary (shown in the photo above) plus three or four smaller ones. Surrounding these aviaries was a large enclosure with some Emus and a Black Swan in residence. The larger aviary contained a variety of Australian parrots and a Peaceful Dove.
A sign on the front of the cage says: “Be careful: we may bite.” (Click the image to enlarge.)
The one I’d be most careful of was the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. He immediately came to the wire in front of me to check me out and to inspect my camera – or was it to pose for a photo? I certainly wouldn’t like to get my finger in his beak!
I had trouble taking photos through the wire mesh, and wherever I tried to focus on the birds through it, the cockatoo came and posed front and centre. I guess he figured that he was the star of the show. Of course he had been taught to speak the usual phrases and greeted me with a cheery “Hello Cocky” as I was getting out of the car. He then proceeded to use his full vocabulary like “Dance, Cocky, dance” and other phrases.
Last week I heard the lovely sound of a Peaceful Dove in our garden. I went chasing after it with my camera but it wouldn’t sit still long enough or in good light for me to get a good shot of it. So I’ve had to use several photos taken several years ago in a walk through aviary at Cleland Wildlife Park in the Adelaide Hills.
While this dove is common and widespread in our district they don’t seem to come into our garden all that often. We usually hear and see the resident Spotted Turtledoves and Crested Pigeons every day, but this beautiful bird seems to be a little shy about staying around for very long. Because of this we are always delighted when we hear its soft call in the trees near the house, and even more delighted when it comes close enough to see.
One of the most beautiful birds found in Australia would have to be the Peaceful Dove. At first glance it appears to be a dull grey colour all over. On closer inspection, however, the delicate markings make this bird stand out from many others.
The Peaceful Dove is found throughout eastern, central and northern Australia and the northern parts of Western Australia. Here in Murray Bridge, South Australia, they are widespread but not particularly common anywhere. The one exception is an area several kilometres west of our home. On my walks through the nearby hills I have often heard their soft, musical doodle-doo calls echoing through the mallee scrub. It is a peaceful, soothing call, one that I love hearing.
From time to time we hear or see them in the mallee scrub at the back of our house garden. Yesterday, while having lunch, we were delighted to hear one calling just a few metres from the front door. By the time I raced outside with the camera, it had gone. Trying to get a good photo of this species in the wild has been a long, frustrating journey over the last twelve months. I haven’t succeeded – yet.
The photo above is of a captive bird. It was taken in the walk through aviary at Cleland Wildlife Park a few days ago.
Updated November 2013.
Updated August 2015.